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Taking a Yoga Class as a Beginner

What is Yoga?

Yoga is a long-standing practice that unites the individual consciousness with the universal consciousness and balances the mind with the body. Derived from Sanskrit, the term yoga literally means to join or to unite. There are many benefits to learning and regularly practicing yoga:

  • Improves strength and flexibility
  • Relieves back pain
  • Reduces stress and inflammation
  • Improves cardiovascular function
  • Helps with arthritis pain
  • Improves sleep quality
  • Increases and stabilizes energy levels
  • Improves mental health
  • Promotes Self-Care
  • Boosts Immunity

What is the History of Yoga?

Yoga is estimated to have originated in the fifth or sixth century in India, according to texts from early Buddhists, ​middle Upanishads, and others. There is significant evidence that suggests that yoga has been practiced for at least the last 5,000 years, and continues to be one of the most popular types of mindful exercises to date.

According to the Indian sage Patanjali, “yoga is a state of oneness realized once one has stopped the fluctuations of the mind,” or “yogas chitta vritti nirodha.” As a physical discipline, yoga consists of exercises called asanas, or postures. As a mental discipline, yoga can be a healing form of focus, often referred to as meditation.

Today, both traditional and modern yoga are practiced in virtually every country. The basic principle of balance between the body and mind is still the ultimate goal, but new techniques and methods have been introduced throughout the years to enhance the experience. Some simply enjoy the stress relief that yoga can offer, while others have dedicated themselves to living with a yoga mindset throughout every aspect of their lives.

What types of yoga are trending?

Yoga is a great way to achieve your personal fitness goals while improving your mental well-being, and there are many types of yoga to choose from. Some of these courses are great for beginners and others are appropriate for families.

  • Couples lessons
    • Couples yoga can be an invigorating way to relate to your partner. With enhanced abilities to communicate and trust one another, couples who do yoga together often report improved intimacy and lower stress levels within their relationship. This is a type of yoga that is centered on a relationship.
  • Private lessons
    • Private yoga lessons are perfect for most individuals just beginning their yoga journey. Without the pressure of keeping up with a group or a class, you and your instructor’s focus is on you. Private lessons are popular because you get the one-on-one interaction you might need.
  • Stand Up Paddle Board (SUP) Yoga
    • Yoga practiced on a SUP board on a relatively smooth body of water is a form of modern yoga that promotes connectivity with nature and muscle strengthening. Because balancing on a paddle board requires extra effort, this type of yoga greatly enhances physical balance.
  • Hatha Yoga
    • Hatha Yoga strengthens weak areas and stretches tight areas, and brings balance between your opposite polarities. “Ha” means sun, and “tha” means moon, so the goal of the practice is to balance the left part of the brain and body with their counterparts on the right. This is an advanced style of yoga that you may learn down the road.
  • Vinyasa Yoga
    • Vinyasa Yoga is based on flow and connection between movement and breathing; the breath essentially initiates the movement. This type of yoga help builds strength and flexibility, and can improve the way your cardiovascular and lymphatic systems work.
  • Yin Yoga
    • Yin Yoga is mainly meditative in nature, slowing movements down even more than other forms of yoga to target deep connective tissues. Postures are held longer, which can help stretch fascia, joints, and ligaments. Yin yoga can condition your ability to breathe through discomfort, sharpening your meditative skills that much more.
  • Yoga Classes for Children
    • Yoga has no age restrictions. Booking yoga classes for children can help them develop healthy habits that will benefit them later in life, both physically and mentally. Yoga classes for children are a great family activity.

Do You Have to Be Flexible to Practice Yoga?

While yoga can help improve your flexibility, you do not have to be flexible to begin practicing yoga. In fact, it can take many years for even the most dedicated students to become limber enough to touch their toes. However, yoga is a low-impact, non-competitive exercise that improves the well-being of the body and mind, so the chances of injury or discomfort are slim regardless of your fitness level.

Is There a Yoga Class Near Me?

Many who want to learn yoga from an instructor have a few decisions to make before starting. Is there a yoga class near me? Should I take private lessons or attend with a group? Can I sign up for online yoga courses?

Once you have determined your goals, you can begin to answer these questions. Yoga studios often offer a wide range of options, including group and private yoga sessions. Individual instructors can offer flexible, virtual classes that you can schedule at your convenience.

What Should I Wear for My First Yoga Class?

There is no specific dress code for practicing yoga, but wearing clothes that provide comfort and a full range of movement is essential. You will not need socks or shoes, but you may want to bring a water bottle and a towel. Additionally, you can bring a yoga mat if you have one, but many studios offer rentals.

How Should I Prepare for My First Yoga Class?

If you have any questions or concerns, it may be helpful to reach out to your yoga instructor before or after class. However, there is some vital information to remember before taking part in your first yoga course:

  • Do not eat before practicing yoga. Your energy should be spent on your breathing and movements, not metabolising a meal.
  • Try to retain your focus by turning off your phone and other devices. This will reduce distractions and make it easier for you to focus.
  • Remember to keep the beginner’s mindset.

What is the Beginner’s Mindset in Yoga?

Shoshin (初心) is a Zen Buddhist phrase meaning “beginner’s mind.” This refers to the idea that only when you are a true beginner with humility and the acceptance of your lack of knowledge can you truly learn something new. When you begin taking yoga classes, this mindset will help steady your progress and integrate what you learn into everyday life to achieve maximum results.

Should I Buy a Yoga Mat?

While most studios and instructors offer yoga mat rentals, many beginners will wonder whether they should buy a yoga mat. There are many options available, with more or less cushion and grip, as well as varieties of colors and sizes. Some mats are sturdier than others, but some offer a better price range.

Ultimately, the decision to purchase a yoga mat is up to the student. Still, it is recommended that a beginner gets through a few classes before committing to owning necessary equipment. In some cases, such as stand-up paddle board yoga, you will have no need for a mat at all. If you have specific questions about what to look for in a yoga mat or other equipment, speaking with your instructor is a great way to start.

Book a Yoga Class for Beginners in Dubai

Yoga offers many benefits to those who dedicate time to practice, but learning how to pose and use breathing techniques properly is an important aspect of beginner’s yoga. Booking a yoga class with an online instructor or a studio in Dubai will help beginners of all ages with their yoga journey.